Berkeley Lab

2019 ATAP, Engineering, and ALS-U Safety Day: Results and Benefits

On Thursday, March 28, 2019, the ATAP and Engineering Divisions and the ALS-U project held our Safety Day, an annual investment of about 0.4% of the work year in the benefits of clean and orderly labs, shops, and offices. This page summarizes the outcomes and celebrates the individual and team awards, as well as preserving reminiscences of the day’s events, including resources from the wildfire presentations.

Click here for the original Safety Day page that announced the event and provided resources for use during it.

Honoring the Top Achievers of Safety Day

Engineering Division Director Henrik von der Lippe (l.) congratulates Chavez

Thomas Schenkel presents Safety Day team award to team leader Tobias Ostermayr

Tobias Ostermayr (r.) accepts award on behalf of his team from ATAP Interim Director Thomas Schenkel

The success of our annual Safety Day is built on an all-hands effort, but some stand out for exceptional dedication and the quality of their contributions.

This year, to promote ongoing safety-culture awareness, we honored an outstanding individual worker and the top-performing self-assessment team for their Safety Day efforts. Engineering Division machinist Pete Chavez took the “people’s choice” individual award, while team honors went to the assessment team for the BELLA Center hundred-terawatt area.

Individual award nominations were solicited from all participants as part of a Safety Day follow-up survey. The winning self-assessment team was selected by divisional officials who performed final walkthroughs and received reports from all the teams.

Team Honors: BELLA 100-TW Area Assessment Team

BELLA Workplace Assessment QUEST Team that won the 2019 Safety Day award
Among the 18 Workplace Self-Assessment QUEST Teams, top honors went to the team that inspected BELLA Center’s hundred-terawatt laser area. Shown here are the winners and the Lab officials who honored the occasion at an August 23 ceremony. From left: Engineering Division EH&S Coordinator Marshall Granados; Environment, Safety, and Health Division safety specialist Herb Toor; ATAP Division EH&S Coordinator Pat Thomas; Engineering Division Director Henrik von der Lippe; ATAP Deputy Division Director for Operations Asmita Patel; BELLA postdoctoral researcher Hai-En Tsai; ATAP Interim Division Director Thomas Schenkel; BELLA postdoctoral researcher Jeroen van Tilborg; BELLA Deputy Director Cameron Geddes; BELLA staff scientist Kei Nakamura; BELLA postdoctoral researchers Sam Barber, Tong Zhou, and Tobias Ostermayr (leader of the winning QUEST team); and BELLA graduate student Fumika Isono. Not shown: BELLA research assistants Manfred Ambat and Max Wallace.

Individual Contributor: Pete Chavez

Chavez, in blue (second from right), receives award from von der Lippe

A close race for this “people’s choice” honor, bestowed after voting that was part of the post-event survey, went to Engineering Division machinist Pete Chavez. He was praised by fellow Safety Day participants as a “most organized and patient co-worker” who strives to “improve all work areas he occupies” and “perform difficult tasks in a safe manner” — qualities he displays all year, but especially on Safety Day, where he went “above and beyond” to the point of coming back the next day to put the finishing touches on his contributions.

From left to right, Engineering Division Safety Coordinator Marshall Granados, ATAP Division Safety Coordinator Pat Thomas, and ATAP Deputy Division Director for Operations Asmita Patel join Chavez as he receives the Safety Day individual award from Engineering Division Director Henrik von der Lippe.


During Safety Day, we performed cleanup and took care of problems that could be settled immediately within our capabilities. During the cleanup and the subsequent QUEST assessments and management walkthroughs, action items that required more time and resources or professional skills were tabulated.

With 16 QUEST teams and 12 management-walk around teams reporting in thus far, we have identified 223 action items, which will be formally tracked to resolution. The most common were seismic (77), electrical (26), and signage (21).

The cleanup generated:
7 bins of e-waste
6 bins of paper and cardboard
4 bins of scrap metal
3 machine carts, 1 pallet, and 1 bin of surplus equipment
2 bins of trash
3 chairs, 1 desk, 1 refrigerator, 1 microwave, and 1 space heater
And the best statistic of all—a testament to staying within our training and physical capabilities and using appropriate personal protective equipment:
0 injuries

Reminiscences and Resources

Getting Started

Below, left to right: A packed crowd in the Building 50 Auditorium began Safety Day with a welcome address by Asmita Patel, ATAP Deputy Division Director for Operations, followed by ATAP Director Thomas Schenkel, Engineering Division Director Henrik von der Lippe, ALS-U Project Director David Robin, and Environment, Health, & Safety Division Director Jack Salazar.

Clean Labs, Clean Shops, Clean Offices

A morning of hard work by all resulted in the efficiency and sense of pride that comes from clean, well organized workspaces. In the afternoon, QUEST Team inspections and management walkthroughs performed quality-assurance verification of the morning’s successes and gathered the action items that required further work or more resources.

Wildfire Seminar

California’s wildfire season, once a problem of late summer through fall, has expanded to nearly a year-round risk for Berkeley Lab and for many of us who live at the urban/wildlands interface, inspiring a lunchtime seminar at Safety Day.

In “Wildland Fire: Risk, Mitigation, and Preparedness,” Berkeley Lab Fire Marshall Todd LaBerge (above left) discussed the Lab’s plans for defending against and responding to wildlands fire. Nuclear Science Division’s Michael Johnson (center) presented “2017 Northern California Firestorm,” in which he discussed preparedness and personal experience in the Napa fires. In “Woolsey Fire: A Reflection,” Phillip Weiss (right) of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer shared what he learned about having and implementing a plan when visiting the Pepperdine campus when the Woolsey fire forced an intramural evacuation to the designated shelters. The links take you to their presentations so you can learn to prepare before, survive during, and recover after a fire or other disaster.